By John Boyle
Sounders midfielder Clint Dempsey has been suspended two games and fined an undisclosed amount by Major League Soccer for violent conduct towards Toronto FC defender Mark Bloom. That means the Sounders will be without Dempsey for Saturday’s game in Montreal, as well as their home game against Columbus the following week. He will be eligible to return to action for Seattle’s April 5 game in Portland.
Dempsey’s suspension is the result of hitting Bloom below the belt in the 42nd minute of an eventual 2-1 Toronto victory. Dempsey said following the game that the low-blow was accidental, offering this explanation: “I felt a hand on my back, tried to hit it away. I thought I was hitting his hand away. I understand that maybe I did catch him a little bit, I apologized to him about that. All I was trying to do was swipe his had from my back.”
The league’s disciplinary committee, however, didn’t buy that explanation and denied Dempsey’s appeal. Under a new rule that went in place this year, actions deemed violent conduct by the disciplinary committee come with a minimum of a two-game suspension, so suspending Dempsey one game wasn’t an option.
Here is video of the incident in question: